9 bargain attractions within an hour of Ipswich

Tracey Pettitt with Tilly and foal Prince Philip at the Suffolk Punch Trust

Tracey Pettitt with Tilly and foal Prince Philip at the Suffolk Punch Trust, which is open to visitors - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant

Fancy a couple of day trips to discover some different attractions in the summer holidays, without breaking the bank?

Here are nine suggestions for places to visit within around an hour's drive of Ipswich.

Before setting off, remember to check the attraction's social media feeds or give them a call, as opening times and arrangements can change at short notice due to issues such as self-isolation. 

Suffolk Punches in the sunshine at the Suffolk Punch Trust

Suffolk Punches in the sunshine at the Suffolk Punch Trust - Credit: Peter Beard

The Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley, open 10.30am to 3pm. Closed on Tuesdays

Looking for a different animal attraction to entertain the family? Getting close-up with these much-loved heavy horses could be the answer.

As well as the horses, as you walk around the farm you will meet other rare local breeds, including Suffolk sheep, Red Poll cattle, Silver Appleyard ducks and Ixworth chickens.

You can also explore the Heritage Museum, which includes an exhibition hall and museum of rural life, and see the collection of more than 60 horse-drawn vehicles, vintage implements and machinery. You might even be able to try a tractor-trailer ride.

Most Read

Pets Paddock gives children a chance to meet and learn about the animals, and there is also a play area and craft activities.

Booking is not required unless you want to pay in advance.

Distance from Ipswich: About 16 miles, taking around 33 minutes.

Admission: Tickets are £7.50 for adults and £4 for ages five to 16. 

Walking through Rendlesham Forest

Walking through Rendlesham Forest - Credit: Stephen Squirrell

Rendlesham Forest, open 9am to 6pm daily

Once you have paid for parking, the other facilities at Rendlesham Forest are free for the family.

There is lots to enjoy on the site, including children's play areas, a bike park for experienced riders and sculptures to discover in Tangham Wood.

You can also walk the UFO trail and discover more about the famous sighting in December 1980. There are various picnic sites, or you can visit the Bear Grills cafe.

Distance from Ipswich: About 15 miles, taking around 33 minutes.

Admission: Parking charges are £3 for up to two hours or £5 for a whole day.

FirstSite in Colchester is free to visit, with a range of exhibitions to enjoy

FirstSite in Colchester is free to visit, with a range of exhibitions to enjoy - Credit: Archant

FirstSite Colchester, open 10am to 5pm daily plus some evening events

This popular complex in Colchester has a range of free exhibitions to visit, as well as a cafe, a shop and various activities and courses.

Several of the current exhibitions are linked to people's experiences during lockdown.

You can see Art for Life: An exhibition made with key workers, the Great Big Art Exhibition, featuring thousands of artworks shared with FirstSite over social media and House Share, revealing the thoughts of young people during the lockdowns.

There are also two exhibitions featuring artist Michael Landy, including Welcome to Essex, a tribute to his home county.

Distance from Ipswich: About 17 miles, taking around 31 minutes via the A12

Admission: All galleries free with no need to book. There are charges for film screenings and some special events, which can be booked in advance via the website.

Walking through Brandon Country Park woods

Walking through Brandon Country Park woods - Credit: Elizabeth Oakley/iWitness

Brandon Country Park, open dawn to dusk daily

If you have already visited the main Forestry England site at Thetford, how about trying this nearby country park?

Located within Thetford Forest, this country park has miles of nature trails and cycle paths to explore.

There is also an arboretum, a 'haunted' mausoleum, lawns, a lake, a historic walled garden, play areas and a café, as well as play areas, picnic areas and a cafe.

Parking is also cheaper than in the main forest car parks.

Distance from Ipswich: About 41 miles via the A14 and B1106, taking an estimated 54 minutes.

Admission: Parking is £2 for up to two hours or £3 all day from Monday to Friday. At weekends the cost is £1.50 for up to two hours or £3 all day.

The beach near Southwold Pier.

The beach near Southwold Pier - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Southwold Pier, 9.30am onwards, times for different attractions vary

This attraction is slightly pushing the boundaries of an hour's travel, but well worth a visit even if you go a few minutes over!

It is free to walk along the pier and admire Tim Hunkin's famous water clock and the wacky walk of mirrors.

Other attractions include the Under the Pier Show with more of Tim Hunkin's unusual machines.

As well as the main arcade, there is also a new 80s Retro Room, with iconic games such as Space Invaders, Pac Man and Star Wars.

You can also buy a day fishing pass. There are various places to eat on the pier, or you can take a picnic and sit on the beach.

Distance from Ipswich: 35 miles via A12, taking just over an hour

Admission: Free to visit the pier, but there are charges for the nearby car park. It's free for the first half hour, with varying charges up to £4 for all day.

The John Bradfield Viewing Area in Felixstowe

The John Bradfield Viewing Area in Felixstowe - Credit: Janice Poulson

Landguard Viewing Area, Felixstowe

The John Bradfield Viewing Area is the perfect place to watch the giant container ships visiting Felixstowe, as well as enjoying stunning views across the  estuary to the Shotley peninsula, Harwich and Dovercourt.

The Landguard Visitor Centre offers fun hands-on displays, videos and exhibits, and you can eat at the  View Point Cafe if you wish.

A visit to the viewing area can be combined with a walk around the nearby Landguard Nature Reserve, or you can take the foot and bicycle ferry to Harwich and Shotley.

And, of course, you can also combine it with a trip to Felixstowe's beaches and other attractions.

Distance from Ipswich: 16 miles via A12, taking around 27 minutes

Admission: Free to visit the viewing area and the nature reserve. The Landguard car park is free for the first half hour, with varying charges up to £4 for all day. 

Leiston Long Shop Museum has many engineering exhibits to discover

Leiston Long Shop Museum has many engineering exhibits to discover - Credit: Archant

Leiston Long Shop Museum, open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday during school holidays, and 11am to 3pm at weekends 

If your family is interested in engineering heritage, there is lots to discover here, and you could combine it with a visit to the beach at nearby Sizewell, Aldeburgh or Thorpeness.

The museum is based in the original Richard Garrett and Sons Town Works, and there are many Garrett steam engines and steam-powered machinery to see.

Distance from Ipswich: About 25 miles via the A12, with an estimated journey time of 43 minutes.

Admission:  Tickets are £6.50 for adults, £5 for ages 17 to 21, and £3.50 for ages four to 16. Charges cover the whole year, so are good value if you plan to visit more than once.

Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm is open for visitors

Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm is open for visitors to discover its animals - Credit: Barry Pullen/iWitness

Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm, Baylham, open 10am to 5pm daily

A farm park visit offers the chance get up close to a range of animals, for less money than a trip to a zoo or larger animal park.

At Baylham, you can see rare White Park cattle, Kune Kune pigs from New Zealand, Greyface Dartmoor sheep, Golden Guernsey goats and more, and there will often be the chance to see baby animals.

The farm park has play areas for youngsters, and you can take a picnic with you or buy takeaway food. There is also a gift shop.

Distance from Ipswich: About seven miles, with an estimated journey time of 23 minutes.

Admission: £8 for adults, £4 for children aged four to 16, and £19 for a family of two adults and one child, with £3 for each additional child.

The Anglo Saxon Village at West Stow near Bury St Edmunds

The Anglo Saxon Village at West Stow near Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Courtesy of West Stow Anglo Saxon Museum

West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and Country Park, near Bury St Edmunds, open 10am to 5pm daily

Discover East Anglia's ancient history at this unique site, which includes a reconstructed village and a museum and gallery telling how the Anglo-Saxons lived.

Interactive exhibits offer the chance to dress like a warrior and see the jewellery, tools and weapons used by the Anglo-Saxons.

Surrounding the village, the country park has 125 acres of unspoiled countryside, trails, heath and woodland walks. Takeaway food is available, or you can take a picnic.

Various special activities are planned over the holidays, some of which have extra charges.

Distance from Ipswich: About 33 miles via the A14, with an estimated journey time of 47 minutes.

Admission: Tickets are £6 for adults, £3 for ages five to 16 and £16 for a family of up to five, with a maximum of two adults.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter